How did you discover anime?

The roughly mid-90's and earlier (generally pre-Toonami, pre-anime boom) era of anime & manga fandom: early cons, clubs, tape trading, Nth Generation VHS fansubs, old magazines & fanzines, fandubs, ancient merchandise, rec.arts.anime, and more!
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BadMediaKarma
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How did you discover anime?

Post by BadMediaKarma » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:49 pm

For those of you who became anime fans before it was mainstream, how did you discover the medium? What drew you to anime and how did you connect with other fans? And finally, what did family and friends think of the community? My parents tagged along at my first con in 2013 (I was almost 17) and even then, they thought it was an unhealthy interest, so I can only imagine what it would have been like two or three decades prior haha

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NorthernKaleCity
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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by NorthernKaleCity » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:20 pm

It was a comic book shop back in 1988. Among your Marvel, DC and Dark Horse titles on the shelf, there was this particular comic book box I found myself going back to again and again whenever my friend asked me to accompanyhim to the comic shop. In that particular box, I found 3x3 Eyes from Innovation, along with Adam Warren's "The Dirty Pair, A Plague of Angels", among other titles. Everything pretty much snowballed from there.

I'll upload a few pictures of books I got when I was a kid, when I get home.

I didn't have a lot of friends who took to the genre when I was growing up as much as I did. In fact, all throughout high school I never found another person as passionate—fanatic almost—about the genre.

But my parents were extremely supportive of my new vice. It kept me out of trouble and aside from the NES, it was for the most part, something healthy to partake in.

Mostly. haha

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NorthernKaleCity
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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by NorthernKaleCity » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:20 pm

Man, this takes me back. For me at least, these three titles were essential to the start of my fandom. If I were to go back in time and run in to my younger self at that comic book shop here in El Paso, I'd probably nod and smile.

Damn, this made me tear up in a good way. Thanks for that, Karma. ♥
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BadMediaKarma
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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by BadMediaKarma » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:38 pm

Aww really neat to hear about experiences like that! Thanks for sharing :) What I wouldn't do to get my hands on some $2 manga today haha

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DKop
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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by DKop » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:53 pm

@Kale: How many issues of "Metal Bikini" did they make? I think I got that same issue if its the first one and I bought because "This looks dumb, oh well gotta have it!" Actually I don't think thats the first issue, I can't remember what I have, its all in storage.

To sum up for me, the first time I saw anime was sailor moon on saturday mornings when Sailor Moon was airing on TV in the mid 90's, and they aired some ep on the weekends after Kids WB block. I knew it was Japanese at the time but I just thought of it as those cartoons from japan, and I didn't ever hear anyone say "anime" around that time around me. I'll say what kicked it off for me was like most people, and that was through TV, specifically Toonami and the Pokemon TV series early in the morning during the weekdays before I went to school in 6th grade. Toonami was like mine and other people intro to anime, and the internet only expanded that full force from there from the early 2000's onward. That's kinda how it all started for me.

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NorthernKaleCity
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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by NorthernKaleCity » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:09 am

DKop wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:53 pm
@Kale: How many issues of "Metal Bikini" did they make? I think I got that same issue if its the first one and I bought because "This looks dumb, oh well gotta have it!" Actually I don't think thats the first issue, I can't remember what I have, its all in storage.
Academy Comics and Eternity/Malibu both printed their own set of Metal Bikini comics, so if you have either six part series set, you're good. The only thing that the Eternity/Malibu had over the Academy Comics printing was an extra pin up page at the end of each comic.

Yeah, Jason Waltrip was pretty new when Metal Bikini came out, so it's full of cheese and cheesecake. He went on to draw Robotech II: The Sentinels after that.
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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by DKop » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:02 pm

The issue on the right is the one I have, which is from the Eternity label, not the one of the left. Thanks for clearing that up.

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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by Akage » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:00 pm

BadMediaKarma wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:38 pm
What I wouldn't do to get my hands on some $2 manga today haha
Half Price Books is your friend. They even have $1 manga sometimes in the discount section. If you don't live anywhere near one and are in the US, I can send you some manga from there. Media mail is awesomely cheap.

For me, the first anime I watched was the Superbook series, which although was originally made for the Christian Broadcasting Network, was done by Tatsunoko. Lots of US cartoons were outsourced to Japan in the 1980s, including one of my favorites as a kiddo - Jem. I was a little tyke when I saw these, so it didn't register to me that they were made in Japan. Sailor Moon was what really dragged me in to the fandom in 1993 (it aired in my market first), and I went from collecting every Japanese trading card made, to buying Sailor Moon (and lots of Cardcaptor Sakura) cels/douga and now to buying shikishi, nengajo and other original sketches by various mangaka and production artists.

I grew up and still reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. I didn't go into a comic book shop until I was in a small town while in college because there was no need to go to one. Over here, if you wanted anime in the 1990s, you either went to Chinatown in SF and bought bootlegs that were usually dubbed/subbed in Cantonese or you went to one of the few and very far between anime specialty shops. Chinatown shops were fun; The store that I often bought bootleg tapes in also doubled as an acupuncture supplier. I didn't bother going to Japantown much because it was sort of like going to Suncoast; $60 for 1 VHS tape of 3-4 episodes. The specialized shops often sold a lot of bootlegs as well, like the prismatic sticker version of Japanese trading cards that you could often get in a machine for $.25/each. But they occasionally did get in some good stuff, like the Japanese poster calendars, plushies and dolls.

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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by runesaint » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:24 pm

While this doesn't answer the question, I am reminded of an anecdote that I would like to share. At the time (mid 80s), my parents said that we had no need for a CD player because we had no CDs, and we had no reason to get CDs as we didn't have a player. Nice little circular reasoning there. What I did, then, was to get a few CDs (probably Columbia House subscription) .. but before that, the first CD that I ever bought was the Vampire Hunter D sound track. I had a friend copy it to audio cassette so that I could listen to it before I had a means of listening to it myself.

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Re: How did you discover anime?

Post by davemerrill » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:31 am

when I was really, really small (early 1970s) I watched Prince Planet, and when I was a little older I watched Speed Racer and Ultraman, and when I was a little older still I watched Star Blazers, and it was Star Blazers that really grabbed me and made me say "I like this stuff, I want more of it, and I want to find out more about it." Most of my peers in 5th grade also enjoyed Star Blazers so it wasn't like I was doing anything out of the ordinary, but I kept my interest into middle school and high school. By the time I was in high school, I'd managed to get in touch with other anime fans in my local area, had joined a national anime club, and there was enough anime merchandise filtering into comic book convention dealers tables and local comic book stores to make "Japanese animation" something that someone such as myself could easily waste all his free time and disposable income on. Robotech hit right around that time.

My brother and I were both into comic books, SF, conventions, stuff like that, and Japanese anime was just one more nerdy thing on the stack of nerdy things we did in our free time. As long as we got good grades and seemed to be able to make an eventual living, my family was not critical of our interests. Most of my friends were nerdy enough to enjoy anime and the ones that weren't were at least able to be impressed by something like Akira or Megazone 23 part 2.

Mom and Dad did manage to swing by the anime con I was chairman of, and I think the excitement and the crowds was a pretty good indication that we hadn't been wasting ALL our time zoning out in front of the TV.

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